Astronomy 345
Pulsars & Supernovae II II
Professor G. Woan

An introduction to pulsars and their uses as astrophysical tools. Propagation effects (dispersion and scintillation) and methods of detecting and timing pulsars. The galactic distribution and population of pulsars, and the mechanisms by which they radiate. The structure and formation of isolated pulsars and of binary and millisecond pulsars. The place of pulsars in the late stages of stellar evolution. Case study of the double pulsar system J0737-3039.


MS Stream (live and recorded lectures)

(Padlet and Zoom links on Moodle/Stream)


Course details

10 lectures spread over 11 sessions:

1. DISCOVERY AND OVERVIEW lighthouse model, interplanetary scintillation, Hewish & Bell, Nature letter, Fundamental properties -- size, distance, luminosity, stability, energy supply, spindown rates and magnetic dipole radiation, multiwavelength observations, nomenclature

lecture 1 slides

2. PULSARS AS ASTROPHYSICAL TOOLS high precision time keeping and pulse profiles, astrometry, gravitational physics, super-dense matter, extreme plasmas, extrasolar planet detection, gravitational wave detection

3. DISPERSION AND SCINTILLATION dispersion measure (DM), structure of the interstellar medium, temporal and angular broadening from the ISM, the Fresnel scale and interstellar scintillation

4. DETECTION AND TIMING single dish surveys, incoherent de-dispersion, search strategies, binary searches, timing of known pulsars, the ATNF catalogue

5. DISTRIBUTIONS AND POPULATIONS P-PDOT plane, braking index, characteristic age, death line, globular cluster and galactic distribution, parallax, Crab and Vela pulsars, millisecond pulsars, binary pulsars

6. MAGNETOSPHERES AND PULSE RADIATION MECHANISMS individual pulses,polarisation of pulses, polar cap model,light cylinder and outer gap radiation, relativistic beaming, brightness temperature of coherent emission

7. STRUCTURE AND FORMATION the structure of neutron stars, neutron drip, vortex pinning, starquakes, radio glitches

8. BINARY AND MILLISECOND PULSARS association with supernovae and supernova remnants, evolution of binary systems, recycled pulsars, mass transfer and spin-up, Hulse-Taylor pulsar and gravitational radiation, globular cluster searches

9. A NEUTRON STAR MENAGERIE X-ray pulsars, HMXBs and LMXBs, SGRs, AXPs, magnetars, RRATS

10. CASE STUDY: THE DOUBLE PULSAR SYSTEM J0737-3039,  An opportunity to revise some key pulsar topics.



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